About Lenias Hwenda
Dr. Lenias Hwenda is a recognized international health affairs expert who has participated on the highest stage of international health affairs working with African governments in the World Health Organization (WHO) for more than 10 years. She recently co-chaired the historic WHO negotiations between governments on improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines, and other health products during the World Health Assembly in 2019.
A consummate negotiator, Lenias has participated in several intergovernmental negotiations seeking the best way of meeting the health needs of vulnerable people around the world on various issues including global pandemic preparedness, non-communicable diseases, and health workforce challenges. She is a consistent advocate who uses her deep knowledge and understanding of public health, international affairs, and global health security towards improving service delivery for underserved communities.
She hosts the weekly international health affairs podcast called "Let Us Talk About Health in Africa." This is a go-to forum for global health leaders, policymakers and thought leaders that provides insights from community health leaders, academics, NGOs, development partners, corporate leaders, and public figures.
Lenias is passionate about improving the health of people in Africa as she believes good health is key to improving individual productivity, lifting people out of poverty, and creating sustainable African economies. She strongly believes that to protect African economies, African governments must protect health, otherwise economic progress remains fragile.
Lenias is an influential thought leader and international health affairs practitioner who frequently contributes analysis of developments in global health and international health affairs through her Global Health Briefings on multiple digital platforms. She has published her work in policy and scientific journals and makes regular commentary on critical global public health issues and how they impact the future of health in Africa.
She is also the Founder and CEO of Medicines for Africa, a social enterprise that provides sourcing services to buyers of medicines in African countries using economies of scale. Her work as a health entrepreneur focuses on supply chain management to improve access to treatment by African people.
Dr. Lenias Hwenda trained as an immunologist and spent her early career working in vaccine development. She graduated top of her class with a first-class honors degree in immunology. She was a post-doctoral immunologist in the University of Oxford, UK, and the Rockefeller University, USA, specializing in the development of novel vaccines and anti-infectives She also earned a Ph.D. in Medicine (Ophthalmology) from Aberdeen University, UK, after which she undertook a master’s degree in international Affairs, Negotiation and Policymaking at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
She is married with children, loves books, mountain hiking, gardening, and sport.